Decathlon Riverside 500 electric bike review

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I have always been a big fan of Decathlon bikes, and now they have well and truly entered the e-bike world with a fantastic range of electric bikes. The new Decathlon Riverside 500 E Hybrid Electric Bike is one of their best all-rounders. I believe it could knock the Carrera Crossfire E, from Halfords off the top spot in the £1000 – £1400 price bracket. Read my full review for more information.


I have owned a B’TWIN Riverside 900 before, and I converted it to electric myself using a Tongsheng TSDZ2 mid-drive motor. I thought it would only be a matter of time before Decathlon released their electric version, and they did! Enter the Riverside 500 electric bike.

decathlon riverside 500 electric hybrid bike

Decathlon has recently dropped the B’TWIN brand name from a lot of their bikes. So this new bike is just known as the Riverside 500.

Anyway, moving on. Is the Riverside 500 hybrid electric bike any good? Well at first glance, it looks to be another excellent value e-bike from Decathlon. You have to give credit where it’s due, and I must say that I am very impressed with their new range of electric bikes.

The frame uses the same unisex design as the Riverside 900 I owned, except for an area on the downtube where the battery is installed. The rest of the bike looks fairly similar. And the paint finish is what we have come to expect from Decathlon bikes – generally very good indeed.

This new model has a 250w rear hub motor, with a decent 36v 11.6ah battery pack and a torque-sensing system for the pedal assist.

It is great to see torque sensing pedal assist on a sub £1500 hybrid electric bike. This brings it into line with Halfords popular Carrera Crossfire E.

On sale at £999 Visit Decathlon for more information

Electric Motor

The Riverside 500 uses a 250w unbranded rear hub motor. It’s smooth and produces enough power as and when needed. The manufacturer claimed rated torque for this motor is 42Nm which is about right for a small geared hub motor.

The great thing about hub motors, is they are generally very reliable, and I would imagine that this one is no exception. It produces a nice amount of power when needed, and it can also be pedalled normally when the motor is switched off.

The riverside 500 electric bike 250w rear hub motor

One thing I didn’t expect to see on this bike was the addition of a torque sensor. These are usually found on more expensive bikes like the Carrera Crossfire E.

Torque-sensing pedal assist measures the amount of force being applied to the pedals and gives you the right amount of assistance in proportion to how much effort you are putting in. The bottom line is it makes for a much more subtle transition to electric-assist when you start pedalling. It also means the motor is giving you optimal power when you need it.

Another common trait of a torque sensor, is it will generally increase the efficiency of the motor, thus increasing your battery range.

The torque sensor on the Carrera Crossfire E measures force through a sensor fitted to the crankset – Suntour’s patented ATS or Active Torque-Sensing system. The torque sensor used on the Riverside 500 is, in my opinion slightly more sophisticated, and measures torque via force being applied through the bottom bracket (the main crank bearing that the crankset and crank arm connect to).

As far as power is concerned, the high-torque, geared hub motor fitted to the Riverside, has a surprising turn of power in boost mode, making easy work of those annoying hills!


The Riverside 500 e-bike uses a very tidy and compact LCD display, which is located on the left-hand side of the handlebar. There are 4 power levels available – zero assist, economy assist, standard and boost. Using boost mode constantly will deplete the battery the quickest.

riverside 500 electric bike lcd display

As far as displays go, it’s fairly basic, but it provides all the information most riders will ever need – Speed, assist level, battery range and a trip computer.  The display is also clear to read and easy to use via the keypad, which is located conveniently next to the left-hand grip.


Another good feature of the Riverside 500, is the battery has a very reasonable 36v 11.6ah (417Wh), which should give an assisted range of around 40-50 miles. This figure may be higher or lower, depending on how much assistance you use, your weight and the kind of terrain you’re riding on.

the decathlon riverside 500 ebike 36v 11.6ah battery pack

This battery fits neatly into the frame, and uses the same side exit system as other batteries used on Decathlon e-bikes


The Riverside 500 has a 1 x 8-speed set-up, with a 36t chainring on the front and a wide range 11-34 8-speed cassette at the rear.

The derailleur and gear shifter are B’TWIN branded components. My bike had the same components, and in my opinion, they work as well as their Shimano equivalents. I never experienced any problems with indexing and gear changes were always crisp and smooth.

I like the fact they have kept the gearing quite low, a 36t chainring will still allow you to pedal up to around 25 mph (albeit at a high cadence). But if you are exploring the countryside and riding canal towpaths, you don’t really want to be going much faster than 15 mph anyway.


Tektro hydraulic brakes fitted to the riverside 500 ebike

The Tektro hydraulic brakes are fairly entry-level, but more than adequate on a bike of this type. I have personal experience with these brakes, and they do the job. I’m quite heavy at 110kg, and I never once experienced brake fade when negotiating steep descents.

Wheels and Tyres

The rims are double-walled alloy with alloy hubs and sealed bearings. All B’TWIN branded components and fairly durable. I covered nearly 400 miles on a Riverside 900, mainly through Cornish country lanes, and not once did the wheels need truing up, despite some unplanned encounters with pot-holes!

The 700 x 38c CST Tirent hybrid tyres have a reasonable degree of puncture resistance and should provide decent grip on a multitude of surfaces.

Front Suspension

The front suspension is the popular Suntour NCX SF17, which has 63mm of travel. Once again, I can vouch for these forks as they were fitted to my Riverside 900. They’re the perfect hybrid / trekking suspension fork, and more than suitable for gravel tracks, and rough country lanes.

suntour ncx sf17 suspension forks fitted to the riverside 500 electric bike

These forks can be locked-out and also adjusted for stiffness. It should be remembered that as with any hybrid fork, there are limits to the amount of abuse they can take. If you plan on doing a lot of off-road riding, you would be advised to get the E-ST500 Electric mountain bike (which is the same price).

Finishing Kit

All the finishing kit is standard Decathlon, B’TWIN branded components. The seat post, stem and handlebars are all made of aluminium. The saddle is their own brand Ergofit. I find these saddles to be quite comfortable, even on longer rides.


The 6061 Alloy frame on the Riverside 500 e-bike is of good quality and Unisex design, it is quite stiff, and feels surprisingly responsive for a hybrid bike. The frame also benefits from Decathlon’s lifetime guarantee.  The geometry is a typical hybrid, making for a very relaxed, upright riding position.

Riverside 500 frame geometry and sizing

Who is this bike aimed at?

I would say this electric bike is aimed squarely at commuters and leisure riders. It would make a great daily commuter bike. Mudguards and a pannier rack can be easily fitted and the comfortable upright riding position will make any longer ride a pleasant experience.

The 417Wh (watt hours) battery should easily give a range of between 30-40 miles on a single charge, making a daily 30-mile round trip commute fairly effortless. If you were feeling more adventurous you could use it for a spot of weekend bikepacking.

man and women riding the decathlon riverside 500 electric bike

As a leisure bike, the Riverside 500 is excellent. Its unisex design, means that if you’re a couple you can buy two of these and go off exploring the countryside together. The versatility of this e-bike means that you can always venture off the beaten track, without worrying too much about gravel tracks or woodland trails.

Versatility is what makes a good hybrid bike, and in all honesty, I think the Riverside 500 ticks all the right boxes.


The more I look at Decathlon’s new range of electric bikes, the more I think they have produced some absolute gems!

The R&D folks at Decathlon’s headquarters in Lille,  have thought things through. The Riverside 500 electric bike is not only a good e-bike, by any standard, but it is incredibly good value for money.

A direct comparison with the latest Carrera Crossfire E from Halfords was inevitable. Let’s have a quick look, shall we?

Riverside 500 Electric Bike vs Carrera Crossfire E

  • 250w rear hub motor
  • 36v 11.6ah battery
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • 8-speed Shimano gearing
  • Torque sensing pedal assist
  • Weight: 22.5kg

Buy the Crossfire E from Halfords

Riverside 500 electric bike vs carrera crossfire e comparison

Decathlon Riverside 500 Electric Hybrid Bike 2020 model

  • 250w rear hub motor
  • 36v 11.6ah battery
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • 8-speed B’TWIN / Microshift gearing
  • Torque sensing pedal assist
  • Weight: 21.95kg (medium frame)

On sale at £999 Visit Decathlon for more information

As you can see, there isn’t a lot to choose between the two bikes, specification-wise. The Carrera Crossfire E is specifically available in a Women’s frame, whereas the Riverside 500 has a unisex frame design.

Having ridden both bikes, what do I personally think? To be honest there isn’t a lot in it. I am biased towards the Decathlon bike, even though there is hardly any weight difference when compared with the Crossfire. It just feels a bit lighter and more responsive.

The plus point with Halfords of course, is there is one in every large town and city in the UK, while Decathlon stores are a bit few and far between.

I prefer the look of the Riverside 500, it is a very well-designed and thought-out bike. Ultimately, if it comes down to price, then the Decathlon bike is a bit cheaper. If it was my money, I would go for the Riverside.

If you have a Halfords and Decathlon nearby, I would go and check both bikes out in the flesh and see which one suits you best.

If you own a Riverside 500 electric bike and would like to leave a review and comment, please do so below.

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  1. Just read through all of the comments. What a great website and so useful being able to read real users’ experiences of bikes. It sounds like the Riverside 500 is a great bike if you get lucky and find one without faults. Has Decathlon sorted the problems now? What would be an alternative in the £1000 – £1500 price range?

    1. Hi John,

      Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated! If you’re looking for a hybrid style e-bike, the best deal at the moment is on German website Bikester. They ship to the UK and I don’t believe there’s any extra tax to pay. The Ortler E-Montana 500 uses the excellent Shimano Steps E6100 motor with 504Wh battery. Great spec and on sale for £1169. I’m currently riding an Ortler Speeder, and it’s a top quality German brand with good components.

      All the best,

      1. Thanks, Tony. Most appreciated 🙂 I’ll check it out but I’m a bit worried about buying from overseas in case I need customer aftercare. is there anything similar available from within the UK?

  2. Thanks for the review, I have to agree it’s an excellent bike for the money. Having written three different ebikes which were provided by work I decided to get something more ‘me’. Ordered at the full price but down to £1000 on the day so huge value for the money. An easy bike to ride, very responsive, and handles well despite the weight. The riding position gives a good view of the road. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to commute, I can spend all day visiting customers and sites and this bike is great around town.

  3. Hi Tony, thank you for the excellent and detailed review on the Riverside 500e. I am considering buying one to use in Spain and was wondering if you had any advice on the frame size.

    I am about 190cm tall (6′ 3″) but am thinking that maybe the L would be a better choice than the XL?

    I have a trek hybrid size 57cm which is definitely big enough for me but sometimes I feel that I’m putting too much weight on my arms over long trips. Any advice would be appreciated.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi,

      An XL frame is usually recommended for 6’2″ and above, but it depends on your inside leg measurement and arm length. I’m 6’1″ with a long torso and arms and comparatively short legs and generally ride a L frame, but find an XL or even a medium okay to ride. It’s easier to size up a slightly smaller frame by changing things like the stem and adjusting the seat post. If your Trek is okay at 57cm, then a large frame should do the job, but you may need to experiment with stem length or buy an adjustable stem.

      I hope this helps.


  4. Bonjour Tony,

    Tout d’abord merci beaucoup pour cet article très utile !

    J’aurais une question car je viens d’acheter le Riverside 500 E, et après quelques jours d’utilisation, j’ai l’impression qu’il y a un problème avec l’assistance du moteur électrique.

    Lorsque je suis sur la 8ème vitesse (le plus petit plateau), j’ai l’impression qu’il n’y a pas, ou presque plus d’assistance, pourtant je suis encore loin des 25 km/h…
    Logiquement, si je suis en mode 3 (mode boost avec 150% d’aide), je devrais atteindre les 25 km/h sans trop de problème non ? Moi je n’y arrive pas sans transpirer comme un fauve.
    Lorsque je suis sur les premières vitesses, je ressens bien une assistance mais elle est très similaire pour chacun des 3 modes..

    Peux-tu me dire s’il y a un problème, ou si c’est moi qui a trop d’attentes ?

    D’avance merci.

    1. Bonjour Jacques,
      Le Riverside 500 utilise un capteur de couple qui mesure la force de pédalage pour fournir le bon niveau d’assistance. Il est fort possible qu’il y ait un défaut avec ce système mais il me serait difficile de diagnostiquer sans faire de vélo. Si vous exercez une force suffisante sur les pédales et qu’il n’y a pas beaucoup d’assistance, je contacterais Decathlon pour voir s’ils peuvent résoudre les problèmes. Cordialement, Tony

    2. Bonjour Jacques j’ai exactement les memes sensations que toi
      je ne gravis les pentes qu’au prix de beaucoup d’effort avec les assistances 1 2 ou 3 sans voir une reelle difference
      je n’ai plus de plaisir avec du velo limite mon vtt moyen de gamme est plus facile pour moi car moins lourd
      je ne sais plus que penser de ce velo au design reussi et qui me promettait moins d’effort pour les cotes

  5. Hi,

    I have on question regarding the light button. All I read is that you can use it for switching from kmh to mph. But can you use it also for switching on light? Is it possible to add a light which is powered by the battery?

  6. Given that people come here either when they are thinking of buying the bike, or have a problem, I wanted to give my views on the Rockrider 500E, which I’ve owned for almost a year. I am glad to say that I haven’t experienced any of the electrical problems that have been reported here, and the bike has proved very useful for my commute. The battery lasts well – my journey is 5 miles each way and I manage to get 4 round trips (so 40 miles) from the bike on a full charge. This surprised me as I’m not light (100kg) and my journey is very stop/start, with almost 30 sets of traffic lights on my journey.

    The only disappointment is the price – it was £1,000 when I bought it in June 2020 which I thought was a fair price, but it is now £1,300 which seems a little expensive.

    1. Hallo zusammen
      Vor 2,5 Jahren hab ich mir das ST500 rockrider gekauft .Nie ein Problem bis jetzt. Display defekt!Hier liegt das grosse Problem das inzwischen ein neuer Display eingebaut wird,der alte nicht mehr verfügbar. Das neue geht nicht an das alte Model.. hat jemand eine Idee? muss ich das Velo jetzt enzorgen nur weil kein passender Display verfügbar ist???

  7. Dear Tony,
    First of all, thank you for your brilliant reviews on many many bikes. I rarely saw such a relevant description.

    I am currently looking to buy 2 bikes, for me and my wife (and a baby). We live in a small city near the countryside in Belgium. Those bikes will be used for daily commute to the closest station (only 2 miles), but also for weekend rides in the countryside. Therefore, I need to choose 2 hybrid bikes.

    Here is what I am looking for:
    – Price range: 2600£ or less in total for the 2 bikes. I realize I’m at the entry-level of hybrid e-bikes but I cannot afford more unfortunately.
    – We both prefer an upright position like you can have on dutch bikes. Personally I am flexible on that point, but my wife’s bike should have strong arguments if it doesn’t have that design.

    Considering the above, here is my short list:
    – Decathlon Riverside 500e of course (1084£).
    – Decathlon Elops920e (1300£)
    – NCM Milano (960£) and even Milano Plus (1270£)
    – NCM Venice (950£) and Venice Plus (1250£)

    Is there any other that should figure on this list?
    Considering what I read on your website, I think the Milano and the Riverside would be my best options. Am I right?
    I know those are really different, but is there a preference between those two?

    Thank you so much for your time

    1. Hi Charles,

      I think the NCM Milano Plus would be your best option, simply because it is a versatile, well-made e-bike and it offers a very comfortable / upright riding position with the option to adjust the height of the angle of the handlebar stem. Both the Decathlon Riverside and Elops 920 are decent bikes – I would favour the Elops 920e because it uses the Brose mid-drive motor and produces a good amount of torque when compared with the rear hub motor found on the other bikes. The NCM Venice is also a good option, but having ridden both the Venice and Milano I would say the Milano is more comfortable. The Milano Plus also has a far greater battery capacity (768Wh) which means you will have a longer potential range than the other bikes.

      I hope this helps you make a decision. If you need any more advice, please let me know.

      All the best,

      1. Thank you for your reply.
        I have one more concern maybe.
        As far as I know there is no NCM dealer here in Belgium. So it will make a big difference if the bike needs servicing since I have Decathlon close by.
        Does it really happen often to have to send a bike back, and would it be a no-go argument for the Milano?
        Thanks again,

        1. Hi Charles,

          If servicing is a priority then it may be worth going for the Decathlon bikes. NCM e-bikes are generally reliable, but if anything does go wrong (which it sometimes does) it can be a headache sending the bike back to Germany. I would say the Elops 920e is the more comfortable out of the two bikes you mentioned – it has a more upright and leisurely riding position plus the Brose motor will be more efficient.


          1. Okay, i’ll keep that in mind.
            Actually I may have the possibility to buy it in France, which is only 1 hour away from home.
            Thanks again,

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